The difference between traditional decision-making and modern decision-making in enterprise-level business
Traditional decision-making was based on human intelligence. Although, even the biggest supercomputers cannot match the unique capabilities of even an earthworm’s brain (yes, a biological brain is so complicated), when it comes to processing data and recognizing patterns, the human brain cannot compete with machines. Millions of patterns can be detected by an average computer within a few seconds which a human would take months, if not years.
Whereas traditional business decision-making was based on human interpretations and basic data management tools, decision-making based on business intelligence software tools uses advanced computing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning coupled with neural language processing.
A business intelligence tool or a software application can collect and process huge swaths of unstructured data from internal and external sources including emails, videos, health records, images, books & journals, scanned documents, account books, chat scripts, shopping cart details, and even telephone conversations to give you far-reaching insights into how you should grow your enterprise and make your next moves for most profitable ventures. The dedicated BI dashboards and performance scorecards turn the most sophisticated business metrics and KPIs into easy-to-understand visuals.
Various big and small business intelligence tools can help you stay competitive and maximize your revenue. Mind you not every BI tool needs to process billions of transactions and data points. Even if you have a small business, you can benefit from the big data crunching BI tools. Having said that, their biggest strength can be gauged when these BI tools are used as enterprise-level solutions. Listed below are 5 reasons why you should implement business intelligence solutions for your enterprise.
1. Data-driven business decisions
Data is unbiased. Data is not opinion, data is facts. After analyzing data, your BI tool does not say, “maybe it is the right time to invest in the new technology.” It tells you either, “it is THE right time to invest in the new technology,” or “it is NOT the right time to invest in the new technology.” There is no ambiguity. Data-based decisions are binary, either there is a one or there is a zero, there is nothing in between.
It doesn’t mean there is 100% surety. We live and operate in a dynamic world. Big data analytics, “big data” is the keyword here, tells you what your odds are and based on these odds, what decisions you should make. It does not tell you that you’re definitely going to win a lottery, but it can tell you that if you buy a lottery ticket, there is an 80% chance that you will win something.
In the context of your enterprise, your BI tool can tell you, after analyzing real-time data and sales forecasts, whether you should set up meetings with your potential customers or not. Or whether it is worth spending that much money on the next marketing campaign.
2. Greater customer satisfaction and retention
Getting real-time data from customers can be tricky. Among thousands of customers, rarely, just a few readily give the feedback you can use to improve customer service or give them a better experience on your website.
But when your customers are using your e-commerce website or interacting with your mobile app, they leave lots of data that can give you invaluable insights into what path they followed before they finally purchased from you, what is their purchase history and based on their purchase history, which products they will buy in the coming months? Based on such deductions and forecasts, you can start promoting certain products in front of them through targeted campaigns and retargeting.
You can also make changes to your website to give a personalized experience leading to greater satisfaction levels based on user behavior. There are many BI tools that can analyze the email interactions that your support staff has with your customers and give you reports on how satisfied your customers are or how disenchanted they feel after interacting with your support staff.
3. Maintain a competitive edge
As an enterprise, you don’t just maintain a competitive edge by selling more products than your competitors (although, this is one of the biggest KPIs), you can stay ahead of your competitors on multiple levels such as budgeting, forecasting, customer feedback analysis, market research, planning, resource management, supply chain management, production as well as human resources.
Your business intelligence solution can tell you in advance if you need to notch up with your suppliers or you need to hold back, according to the production forecasts for the coming three months.
4. Improve operational efficiency
In a large enterprise, it is often difficult to recognize loopholes and other problems until it is too late, and the problems are too big to escape notice.
Most of the issues materialize because there are communication gaps, and it is difficult to build an understandable narrative out of practically unending streams of data.
The marketing department may not know what’s happening in the sales department and the sales department may refuse to have anything to do with the HR department.
Problems in a large enterprise are interrelated. It may be difficult for the human eye to see a pattern between thousands of data points but a business intelligence solution can establish a relationship within seconds.
For example, a remote order processing department in the Netherlands may be having an adverse effect on the sales and marketing team in the Philippines but since no one can compare the data between the two departments existing on two different continents, a viable solution is inconceivable.
The problems may be logistical as well as attitudinal (who would think there is a direct relationship between two disparate departments in different countries?). But a BI solution does not have such biases or preconceived notions. It only sees the data and how one set of data points affects another set irrespective of to which department it belongs and from which country it originates.
5. Simplistic visualization of complex data concepts
Data visualization plays a very critical role in enterprise-level business intelligence tools. Although at the back end, most of the data exist in the form of numbers or digital documents, it needs to be visually presented in the form of charts, graphs, tables, heat maps or infographics, to people who may not be data scientists.
The non-data scientist employees can find the various datasets and the data pipeline including the extracting, transforming, and loading processes quite intimidating, and even distracting.
Strategic data visualization on the other hand can show logical correlations between different sets of data. Tendencies and patterns can be highlighted. Ups and downs in performances can be shown graphically. Presentations can be made using comparison charts.
Data visualization can unearth the most perplexing hidden patterns and insights.
How should you get a business intelligence system for your enterprise? There are some major business intelligence solution providers and outsourcing services that can help you build a viable BI system for your enterprise. Off-the-shelf solutions may be a good choice but they don’t give you a complete, bespoke solution that can be built by an agency that builds and deploys such systems from scratch, built individually for bigger organizations.